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Clairwil
Is it ever ok to tell your kids you are disappointed in them?
November 20, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Here's a letter in the news right now in Britain.

(full story)

Dear All Three

With last evening's crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.

It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth.

We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us. We don't ask for your sympathy or understanding — Mum and I have been used to taking our own misfortunes on the chin, and making our own effort to bash our little paths through life without being a burden to others. Having done our best — probably misguidedly — to provide for our children, we naturally hoped to see them in turn take up their own banners and provide happy and stable homes for their own children.

Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting. Which of you, with or without a spouse, can support your families, finance your home and provide a pension for your old age? Each of you is well able to earn a comfortable living and provide for your children, yet each of you has contrived to avoid even moderate achievement. Far from your children being able to rely on your provision, they are faced with needing to survive their introduction to life with you as parents.

So we witness the introduction to this life of six beautiful children — soon to be seven — none of whose parents have had the maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions. None of these decisions were made with any pretence to ask for our advice.

In each case we have been expected to acquiesce with mostly hasty, but always in our view, badly judged decisions. None of you has done yourself, or given to us, the basic courtesy to ask us what we think while there was still time finally to think things through. The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn't for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents.

I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children's underachievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don't want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes — it's not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace — far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won't do it by simply whingeing and saying you don't like it. You'll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn't possible, or you simply can't be bothered, then I rest my case.

I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

Dad

Replies

  • Clairwil
    November 20, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    And the daughter responds...

    (source)

    Yesterday one of his daughters admitted that she had needed a “kick up the backside”. Emily Crews-Montes, 40, said: “He wouldn’t retract what he said, and nor should he. In no way would I ask him to apologise. Fundamentally, I couldn’t have a great quarrel with what he wrote. I accept it was too harsh. But if you live in France, you’re used to being judged harshly.”

    Mrs Crews-Montes now lives in Brittany with her second husband, a French surgeon, and three children aged 18 months, two, and 12.

    She said her father’s email did not upset her because she had already begun to turn her life around when she received it in February. She had set up a business and had started translating a French self-help book into English.

    “I had already done what he told me to do. I had already given myself a kick up the backside.” She admitted spending “many years underperforming”, partly because her father’s uncompromising stance left her with little self-confidence.

    Mr Crews’s email to Mrs Crews-Montes, and her younger siblings Alice, 38, and Fred, 35, included criticism that despite their private education they had “contrived to avoid even moderate achievement”. He signed off by saying he did not want to hear any more from them until they had “a success or an achievement” or a realistic plan for the support and happiness of their own children to report.

    There has been widespread discussion online about the email since Mrs Crews-Montes published it, with her father’s permission, in a national newspaper at the weekend, with many people taking his side.

    Fred Crews, from Plymouth, Devon, said he responded to the message at the time and was “not going to dignify” his father with a full response, although he found the public reaction “fascinating”.

  • Thelmama
    November 20, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    He sounds, like a bitter judgmental person.  Are their kids happy and doing well, even if not in the chosen profession that dad thinks they should be in?  As for advice, maybe from the tone of the letter, I assume the kids may feel he is unapproachable and this his way is the only right way.  

    I think he sounds mean and uncaring and unloving and there is probably no way his kids could ever please him.


    And now that you have added the dd's letter I think I was right in my assumptions..LOL

  • Thelmama
    November 20, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    I left out the fact I would never talk to  my kids that way.  I may not like all their choices but I will always love them. I might be disappointed in a behavior but not in them. After all, it is my teaching and raising and such that helps turn them into who they will be as adults.  The father has to take some credit/blame of how they grew up to some extent.  

  • dinc
    by dinc
    November 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    The dad was judgemental but he has a right.  He raised his children the best that he could.  It sounds like they were given all sorts of opportunities to make something of themselves and they chose to do their own thing.  That is ok.  They have to live with the consequences. 

    The parents do not have to like what has happened or tell the kids they are wonderful when they are not.  Children can be very ungrateful and very willful no matter what the parents do.  If parents have high expectations, that shows they only want the best for their children.

    Parents have the right to be disappointed.  They also have the right to say so.  We think that all we should do is praise our kids, even when they don't do anything that wonderful.  Over praising kids has produced a generation of people who think everything they do is wonderful.  Kids need to know when they are not right.  They are not in charge.  The parents should be.  I see a lot of scenarios where the children pretty much make the rules. 

    Parents need to parent and tell their kids what they expect and provide consequences both good and bad.  Our society would be better for it.  Most families would too. 

  • atlmom2
    by atlmom2
    November 20, 2012 at 9:24 AM
    Absolutely!
  • jadedcynic
    November 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    The way I see it, though, is that if all of their children are a disappointment then they did something wrong when they were raising them. Usually you get at least one who accomplishes something, but with none of them succeeding I wonder if they as parents gave them the tools to be successful adults.

    Quoting dinc:

    The dad was judgemental but he has a right.  He raised his children the best that he could.  It sounds like they were given all sorts of opportunities to make something of themselves and they chose to do their own thing.  That is ok.  They have to live with the consequences. 

    The parents do not have to like what has happened or tell the kids they are wonderful when they are not.  Children can be very ungrateful and very willful no matter what the parents do.  If parents have high expectationas, that shows they only want the best for their children.

    Parents have the right to be disappointed.  They also have the right to say so.  We think that all we should do is praise our kids, even when they don't do anything that wonderful.  Over praising kids has produced a generation of people who think everything they do is wonderful.  Kids need to know when they are not right.  They are not in charge.  The parents should be.  I see a lot of scenarios where the children pretty much make the rules. 

    Parents need to parent and tell their kids what they expect and provide consequences both good and bad.  Our society would be better for it.  Most families would too. 


  • lga1965
    by lga1965
    November 20, 2012 at 9:35 AM

     I think he was justified. His letter was well witten and clear as to what he hoped for his children and how their actions have disappointed him. It seems ,rightfully so, that he is most concerned for his grandchildren. Obviously they are going to suffer from their parents' mistakes and underacheiviment. At least the one daughter has started turning her life around and admits her father is correct. Being a good father does not include ignoring  mistakes and enabling his children when they screw up, saying "that's okay,I love you anyway".  A good parent says "you know I love you but I don't love your big mistakes and poor life choices".,

  • lga1965
    by lga1965
    November 20, 2012 at 9:38 AM

     Ahh, but one did! His daughter wrote about how she had turned her life around. Better read it again.

    Quoting jadedcynic:

    The way I see it, though, is that if all of their children are a disappointment then they did something wrong when they were raising them. Usually you get at least one who accomplishes something, but with none of them succeeding I wonder if they as parents gave them the tools to be successful adults.

    Quoting dinc:

    The dad was judgemental but he has a right.  He raised his children the best that he could.  It sounds like they were given all sorts of opportunities to make something of themselves and they chose to do their own thing.  That is ok.  They have to live with the consequences. 

    The parents do not have to like what has happened or tell the kids they are wonderful when they are not.  Children can be very ungrateful and very willful no matter what the parents do.  If parents have high expectationas, that shows they only want the best for their children.

    Parents have the right to be disappointed.  They also have the right to say so.  We think that all we should do is praise our kids, even when they don't do anything that wonderful.  Over praising kids has produced a generation of people who think everything they do is wonderful.  Kids need to know when they are not right.  They are not in charge.  The parents should be.  I see a lot of scenarios where the children pretty much make the rules. 

    Parents need to parent and tell their kids what they expect and provide consequences both good and bad.  Our society would be better for it.  Most families would too. 


     

  • jadedcynic
    November 20, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    I read that reply. It wasn't in the main part. I still feel that perhaps his attitude made his kids less likely to consult him.

    Quoting lga1965:

     Ahh, but one did! His daughter wrote about how she had turned her life around. Better read it again.

    Quoting jadedcynic:

    The way I see it, though, is that if all of their children are a disappointment then they did something wrong when they were raising them. Usually you get at least one who accomplishes something, but with none of them succeeding I wonder if they as parents gave them the tools to be successful adults.

    Quoting dinc:

    The dad was judgemental but he has a right.  He raised his children the best that he could.  It sounds like they were given all sorts of opportunities to make something of themselves and they chose to do their own thing.  That is ok.  They have to live with the consequences. 

    The parents do not have to like what has happened or tell the kids they are wonderful when they are not.  Children can be very ungrateful and very willful no matter what the parents do.  If parents have high expectationas, that shows they only want the best for their children.

    Parents have the right to be disappointed.  They also have the right to say so.  We think that all we should do is praise our kids, even when they don't do anything that wonderful.  Over praising kids has produced a generation of people who think everything they do is wonderful.  Kids need to know when they are not right.  They are not in charge.  The parents should be.  I see a lot of scenarios where the children pretty much make the rules. 

    Parents need to parent and tell their kids what they expect and provide consequences both good and bad.  Our society would be better for it.  Most families would too. 


     


  • atlmom2
    by atlmom2
    November 20, 2012 at 10:07 AM
    If my girls got pregnant as a teen (they did not) you bet ya they would have been told we were disappointed as hell.

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